Organizational Agility and its Impact on Projects – 3 case studies


Mark Kozak-Holland PhD, PMP, IPMA D, Cert. APM


Businesses are grappling with unprecedented levels of adverse, unexpected change that creates a chaotic environment in which it is difficult to initiate/execute projects. A high degree of agility can help an organization better react to unexpected change offsetting its impact to new or inflight projects. This presentation examines three different strategies used in initiating/executing projects in agile organizations:

Roald Amundsen’s expedition, search of the Northwest-Passage (1903-1906), did not have the constraints of a large, rigid, hierarchical organization like the British Royal-Navy. So agility was at the core of his approach, down to selecting the right type of sailing craft. 

Charles Lindbergh (1927), a last entry to the transatlantic flight race, had to respond with great agility, and short-circuited the build-project of his aircraft by coming up with a strategy to beat far better equipped and resourced competitors and win the Orteig-Prize.

General Patton’s rescue of the town Bastogne (1944) was thought impossible by Allied command who had written off the U.S. 101st Airborne Division.  Patton's organization responded with great agility and mobilized three divisions (48,000 men/thousands of vehicles) across 175 kms, within 48 hours.

Speaker Biography

The History of Project Management is from the Lessons from History series. As the author behind the series, Mark Kozak-Holland brings years of experience as a consultant who helps Fortune-500 companies formulate projects that leverage emerging technologies. Since 1983 he has been straddling the business and IT worlds making these projects happen. He is a PMP, certified business consultant, the author of several books, and a noted speaker. Mark has always been interested in tracing the evolution of technology and the 3 industrial revolutions of the last 300 years. Whilst recovering a failed Financial Services project he first used the Titanic analogy to explain to project executives why the project had failed. The project recovery was going to take 2 years and cost $8m versus the original $2m cost and 1 year duration. As a historian, Kozak-Holland seeks out the wisdom of the past to help others avoid repeating mistakes and to capture time-proven techniques.

Talent Triangle

Strategic and Business management & Leadership